‘Risk, Imagination Keys for Success’

Mr. Upjit Singh Sachdeva delivers commencement address at AME Zion University on April 22, 2021.

— Business tycoon Jeety urges A.M.E. Zion Graduates

By Robin Dopoe and David A. Yates

For graduates of the African Methodist Episcopal Zion University, listening to business tycoon Upjit Singh Sachdeva’s inspiring commencement address might have given them the best advice of their college careers.

Asked by the University to speak on the theme, Setting Higher Expectations, Sachdeva informed the graduates that he was going to lecture them about what higher expectations are, and how you can go about setting them but to tell a story that will inspire them to become hungry for success and fight for it.

“The fact that you are here today graduating from one of the nation’s premier universities is a clear sign that you are aiming for something,  driven by a fear of failure quite as much as a desire for success. You are gifted and educated and have been prepared academically by a top-notch institution, so I am not going to define what expectations are, rather tell you about my secret to success — RISK and IMAGINATION,” said Sachdeva as he mounted the podium to speak.

Narrating the story behind his success, the Indian business tycoon told the University’s 482 graduates that his is success in business did not come by luck, but through in his character as a fearless risk-taker and follower of his imagination.

According to Sachdeva, risk-taking and exploring his imagination had made him to learn lot about life and business as a result of following his inner voices, and intuitions, and not what other people think.

Members of the AME Zion University Class of 2021

“Do not be afraid to be fearless risk takers — for there is truly little learning in success, but in failure — we learn lessons of life. [The fact is] you will never truly know yourself, and the strength of your ability, until you take risk— such knowledge is a true gift that is painfully gained, but worth the experience,” said Sachdeva, who is popularly known in Liberia as ‘Jeety’. 

Jeety, who is a former Honorary Consul General of India in Liberia, reminded the students that risk-taking is not fun because of the fear of failure, but failure is inevitable, and “it is impossible to live without failing even if you live cautiously.” He furthered that, had he been afraid of taking the risk, he might never have found the determination to succeed in the business arena, or the courage to direct all energy into finishing the only work that mattered.

“The fear of loss caused you to freeze into a mode of inaction thereby putting your dreams on hold — perpetually. When I let go of my fear and took the risk of quitting College for a business opportunity in Liberia, I was set free mentally, and full of courage and zeal to build my life as a successful businessman,” added Sachdeva.

“35 years ago, I was in India going to Law School at Guru Nanak Dev. University, Amritsar, India but halfway through my study for a Secord degree, I quitted the University for a Business Opportunity in Liberia. That decision left my family gravely heartbroken, and because I neglected their chosen career path for me, but being a lawyer was never my calling, so I took a great risk to quit law school and pursue my dreams.”

“But as a person, who follows dreams, whether big or small, I needed to pursue activities and take actions to make my dream a reality. It was that conviction that made me realize that the Risk I took was not going to be meaningless.”

However, Sachdeva cautioned the graduates not just to take a risk simply because they want to; rather, they should back it up with well-defined thoughts (imagination) — a key component “to begin the journey of exploration and self-discovery.

Mr. Sachdeva receives an honorary docorate degree from AME Zion University faculty senate on April 22, 2021.

“I just do not take risk because I want. It must be backed by imagination because it is the greatest gift of mankind in which all the power to change one’s life lies in — the power of being successful,” added Sachdeva, in his message to the graduates.

He further reminded them to not behave like some people who choose to remain comfortably within their bounds, and not trouble about how it would feel to have been born other than they are.

“Your intelligence and your education give you unique status and responsibilities. But, it is imagination that will set many of you here apart. If you open your hearts to your imaginations, instead of falling into the trap of analysis paralysis, you will succeed,” said the Indian business tycoon. “So as you follow your imaginations, you are going to find naysayers in every turn that you make. Do not listen — get out there and work like hell and never ever be afraid of failure.”

Also, he reminded the graduates that they can overcome all odds because he was in similar position decades ago but succeeded as a result of following his imaginations and taking risk.

“There is no such thing as cannot be done. If you really want to achieve your imagination, it will be yours for the taking.  For there is truly little learning in success, but it is in failure, we learn lessons of Life,” Sachdeva said.

Meanwhile, A.M.E. Zion University conferred upon Mr. Sachdeva an honorary Doctor Degree in Humane letters, “as a result of his outstanding contributions to education and humanities, which has and continues to impact Liberia positively.


  1. Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha !
    The AME Zion University can dressed up a pig with any kind of makeup to make it look beautiful, but like they say, it is still a pork chop.
    These kinds of occasions will usually take place under zine shacks or structures made from palm thatch or trees.
    In this case, no matters how they dressed up that structure, it is still a zine shack to host the graduation ceremony.
    Risk, Imagination key to success ? This time around, very poor. Think outside of the box. Think big. But first have a plan. This was a plan, but a very poor one. Especially so, in a country where weather forecasts are impossible to predict, Oh well.
    Can’t always show that one is struggling. At some point, one has to show that he is succeeding. Tried to do away with the idea that something is better than nothing. Think outside of the box. Better planning for that same occasion next year.
    Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha !

  2. This is awesome to see a successful Indian businessman, not a government official speak at a graduation ceremony. A guy like this who has lived almost 30 years in the country should be given citizenship. He’s not going anywhere, his children are born here and they should be rewarded with citizenship. As citizen, he will feel confident to invest his wealth in Liberia. The same goes for the Lebanese community. This wrong-headed idea that if we make non-blacks citizens they will take over the country is misguided. We need to welcome good people who want to contribute to our development, regardless of race. Racism is a very bad concept and we should stop treating people who love our country and live with us as foreigners.

  3. Mr Jetty Sachdeva’s contribution to bolster key sectors of the country especially the economy, education and health is worthy of our recognition as a country and people…this is exactly the reason I have come here to firstly commend him (Jetty) for his long standing contribution to Liberia…, and special commendation to the Administration, Faculty and Staff of AME Zion University for their farsightedness in recognizing Mr Sachdeva’s contribution to the country. Thank you AME Zion University…


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